Thursday, November 7, 2013

My Emergency Hospital Visit

What's the deal, body? I've had more health issues since I've come to Korea than... ever in my life. So to set the scene a bit, let's start with the last couple weeks. At school, everybody has been practicing and preparing for this big school festival. Our English department was putting on (a very, very bizarre version of) The Wizard of Oz with some of our smartest kids. I had the role of narrator. Then, my parents came to visit last week. We did lots of stuff. It was fun. But at the tail end of their trip, I started getting a cold. (The weather has been changing lately, and it's been getting colder and colder out.) So most of this week, I've been dealing with coughing, sneezing, and all other types of sinus/cold issues. And as that began to deteriorate... yesterday happened.

About 9:30 PM on Thursday, I suddenly start getting this sharp pain in my lower left back. And it very quickly increases. At first I think I pulled a muscle or something... until I found there was no amount of twisting, turning, stretching, bending, laying, etc. that could ease the pain. It just got worse to the point it was crippling. I didn't know if I wanted to cry or throw up. Or both. The pain caused the adrenaline to kick in so hard I was shaking like Michael J. Fox during an earthquake. I tried a hot shower, which worked... until the shower stopped, and the pain came back full force. I was pretty freaked out and had no idea what to do.

About 10:20-ish, I decided I needed to go to the hospital. This wasn't something I could sleep off (I wouldn't have been able to fall asleep with that pain anyway). So I make it to Sanbon and find the Emergency Clinic. They run a couple tests and hook me up to what I'm assuming to be a morphine IV. After about an hour, they tell me I have a kidney stone. The pain had gone down considerably, and they were going to give me one more injection of something and send me on my way. But then it all came back full force again, so they increased the drip, and I hung around for another 45 minutes or so. They gave me a few meds and I eventually went on my way (where I had to take a taxi home, since it was after 1 AM and nothing else was running at that point). Oh, and I had an appointment with a urologist the next morning.

So I get home and send messages to co-workers telling them I won't be coming in the next day (which I felt REALLY bad about considering it was the big festival day when we gave the big play performance we'd been building up to. Talk about letting people down). I finally get to bed, and after about 5 hours of restless sleep, I got up. My back was fine in bed, but the more I started to move around, the more the pain started to come back.

I made my way back to the hospital for my appointment. The doctor then had me do a whole bunch of tests. I wandered around the hospital to different areas so I could get all of these done, including 4 blood samples, 2 urine samples, an x-ray, and a CT scan. Then I got to go back to the doctor, who eventually told me I did, indeed, have a kidney stone and it was thankfully only about 2mm in size, so no surgery would be needed to get it out. I'd just have to wait for it to come out the natural way.

So as usual, I end up bringing up an insane amount of pills and an appointment check-up for next week. The entire process from last night through now, thanks to the wonders of Korea healthcare, only cost me roughly around $250. I'm sure you could add another zero to that and get the price for the same treatments in America.

But now I'm pretty exhausted. The pain has subsided quite a bit for now (thankfully... I've heard it compared to the pains of childbirth, and some say it can even be worse than that). It comes in waves, but only sticks around for about 5 minutes at most. But seriously, Korea... I only have 4 months left. Could you, ya know, let me not have any more health issues during that time please? Thanks.

1 comment:

  1. you would probably have to add a couple of zero's to that dollar amount here! I appreciate them taking such good care of you! you've added more gray hair (and i don't need any more) to my head today! I too would appreciate Korea taking a break with your health issues as well. I had my first and only episode of kidney stones when i was pregnant with you, so maybe this is payback...just kidding. hope it passes quickly.